City of Prince Rupert opens doors on budget process

City council is making is making a big change to the way it plans out Prince Rupert’s municipal budget.

City council is making is making a big change to the way it plans out Prince Rupert’s municipal budget, this year the public will be able to be there while it’s happening.

In the name of encouraging public interest and participation in the budgeting process, council has decided to open once closed-door budget workshops to the public. The basic framework of what the public will do other than to watch the meeting, if anything, still has to be worked out by City staff.

Councillor Anna Ashley spearheaded the push to make the budgeting process more transparent, even going so far as giving notice in the previous council meeting that she would be making the motion at the next one.

“My biggest reason for doing this is that a lot of people during the last budget had a lot of concerns about not having the budget early enough so they could ask questions. Some people weren’t sure about what was going on. It’s not that anybody’s been trying to hide anything, but there are some people in town who would like to know about more about the financial state our city is in. They’re interested and I think they have a right to know,” said Ashley after she made the motion in council.

Councillor Ashley says that the council will have to make some very hard decisions during to crate this budget.

“What are we going to support in terms of grants? What are we going to put money towards? How are we going to deal with our infrastructure projects? What are we going to do about a emergency services building,” asked Ashley.

Having more people knowledgeable interested people concerned with the City’s finances, says the councillor, will only be an advantage.

Whether opening up the meetings will be as simple as letting people sit in the gallery and watch them on television, or a more participatory set up needs to be worked out.